Go-karts roar across the racetrack, bumper boats collide, and the cracking sound of confined home runs rings out from batting cages. This multisensory symphony fills the landscaped grounds of Fun Time Square, where attraction after attraction beckons visitors of all ages to kiddie train rides, 18 holes of mini golf, and the blinking lights of pinball machines in the onsite arcade. More intense thrills unfold at a paintball field, where abandoned cars, inflated cover, and war-torn art teachers guard players from enemy paint.
Housed inside of an airplane-hanger-like building with a high, A-frame ceiling, Chicagoland Paintball's battleground yields paintballing matches during all seasons. The center suits up players in rental gear before sending them onto the green turf floor to navigate mammoth inflatable X- and barrel-shaped obstacles. After the paint clouds clear, teams can agree to an armistice as they nosh on pepperoni pizzas and slurp down slushies at the onsite snack bar. And in the adjoining lounge, they recharge and recover with free WiFi and cable TV, plus nearby shower facilities that promote cleaner car rides home.
Originally constructed to host large-scale tournaments, The Badlandz Paintball Field now accommodates recreational play across more than 400 acres of outdoor forts, creeks, and open fields. Open play draws beginning, intermediate, and advanced paintballers into challenging and fun scenarios. Multiple games kick off simultaneously, sending combatants headlong into battle on isolated fields, with players divvied up based on ability, equipment type, and Duck Hunt high scores to ensure a level playing field. Warriors navigate natural and manmade obstacles as they pummel competitors with polychromatic ammo throughout the woodsball, hyperball, airball, and x-ball courts. Methods of gameplay include elimination, capture the flag, and protect the president and encourage individual or team strategies such as designating snipers or concealing teammates in piles of chameleons. Badlandz staffers patrol the sprawling arena to enforce the game's rules and to ensure that all participants follow the field's stringent safety regulations. Players can bring their own paintballs or purchase them onsite. The facility also runs airsoft games during weekend open play.
Legacy Paintball and Airsoft Park is a field of dreams, and those dreams belong to Paul Ciesiun. He grew up on paintball fields, and when he was old enough, he owned and operated one, but he still couldn't find a field that matched what he remembered playing on as a kid. So he set out to build one. He found a piece of land in Lockport and along with a crew, cleared away the old tires, abandoned stoves, and forgotten cars that had been dumped there over the years. This set the stage for a paintball and airsoft arena that drew from the best of '90s-era paintball, but with a modern spin. Here, players spread out over four different fields as they duck behind trees or take aim from behind fabricated walls. On-site campgrounds and fishing holes provide players with a place to sleep and eat if they want to make a weekend of it or simulate their ancestors' experience of living off the land with nothing but sacks of paintballs to sleep on.
A hailstorm of paint projectiles rains down upon CPX Sports' more than one dozen fields, each of which poses different challenges and requires specialized tactics. The crown jewel of the park is the Town of Bedlam, a massive maze of small-town 1950s buildings that jut out between streets dotted by paint-splattered cars and streetlights. There, snipers poke their heads out of the central city hall's tower as the opposing team hides out or checks for abandoned shampoo samples inside the post office. The Jungle of Doom drops teams into a heavily wooded field to vie for control of a central temple, and chromatic combatants weave between desiccated cars in the Wastelands, attempting to collect the most gas cans. A full pro shop outfits players with markers, protective gear, and Sesame Street coloring books for target practice.